# Yet another question about coop and run size

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LSU2001, Nov 22, 2008.

1. ### LSU2001Out Of The Brooder

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Aug 7, 2008
Cut Off Louisiana
I am currently building a coop and run area for for a few laying hens I have yet to acquire. The dimensions of my coop are as follows:

Floor/foundation: 4x8 feet (32 sq.feet)
Wall height: 8 feet
Total Cubic feet: 256 cubic feet

I haven't finalized my run size yet but I was thinking something along the lines of 10x25 would be about right.

I live in South Louisiana, on very rare occassions it will dip into the upper 20s but most years we don't even get a freeze, much less a hard freeze so my hens will spend most days outside (barring rainy days)

My question is how many hens can I comfortably keep in a set up like this??
I know about the 4 square feet per bird guideline but I was thinking that the greater height (cubic feet) may make a difference in the number.
Thanks,
Tim

2. ### haloGot The Blues

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Nov 22, 2007
Florida
My Coop
I think most here would agree that the 4 square foot per bird is absolute minimum and greatly enhances behavioral problems. I have a kennel run that is 7 x 12. I have 7 birds in there right now, and its the most I want to put in there. That gives them a little over 10 square feet per bird. If I were to go with 4 square feet per bird, I could theoretically put 21 birds in there...they would be jam packed, and Im sure Id have a load of problems. With a 4 x 8 coop, I personally wouldnt put more than 3 hens in there.

3. ### Chicken SaladChillin' With My Peeps

Nov 6, 2008
Frederick, Maryland
Quote:I thought it was 4 square feet inside and 10 square feet outside per bird. With a floor space of 4x8 you *could* do 8 inside. Since it's tall you could definitely put in some other "floors" to increase your sqft a bit. Think of it like parking decks.

A run for your 8 (based on inside measurements) you'd need 80 sq ft. 8x10 (fenced off the long dimension), 4x20 (if you fenced off your short dimension). If you have space under your house (like it's on stilts) that would count into that - as well as being covered space for cooling and shelter from rain, etc.

4. ### herbsherbsflowersChillin' With My Peeps

May 25, 2008
Covington, GA
HI<

I went to LSU also. I have a 5x6 coop with 6 birds. I have a 10x21 foot run around that. The nest boxes stick out so we don't have to go into the pen to get the eggs. It is so much better the more room you have. I think, 8 to 10 birds is about your max, especially since they won't me living in the coop in the winter. If you have several levels of roosts they can spread themselves out but they won't they all bunch together at the top to roost. The more run space you can give them the better.

5. ### patandchickensFlock Mistress

Apr 20, 2007
One thing that's a bit in your favor if you really want to try to pack a buncha hens in -- you're in a climate where they can usually spend lots of time outside (at least if they have sufficient shade).

From the way I see chickens using their indoor space I do not honestly believe that vertical space, even shelves, is really in any way a substitute for FLOOR space, unless you are cooping them up inside for long periods of time when it's not really a substitute per se but is better than nuthin'.

You may need to design some intermediate-height shelves to help the chickens get up to and down off a high roost - remember they are not helicopters and need a certain amount of horizontal room, especially to get up and down considerable heights.

Also with that tall a coop you are likely to need extra ventilation, like making one or two whole walls pretty much entirely of wire (possibly with plywood covers that can be hooked on, but so they can *usually* be open). Otherwise it is going to get Real Hot in there.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat

6. ### digitS'Chillin' With My Peeps

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Dec 12, 2007
ID/WA border
Welcome to BYC!

I think you are looking for the real, real maximum # of chickens, LSU2001. Then I'm hoping, you will pare that down out of a concern for the welfare of your birds.

The rule of thumb is 3 cubic feet per pound of live chickens, permanent indoor confinement. Virginia Tech This can be thought of as an "industrial model" but, thankfully, your birds will have outdoor time most every day.

Your 256 cubic feet, should allow (based on this model) 85 pounds of birds. A 5 pound light-weight breed would allow for 28 hens. As Chicken Salad suggests - you'd need "decks" to allow them room enuf to turn around. Perhaps a 2nd story could have its own exterior doors.

Even with 2 floors, this would be really crowded. Ventilation would be a serious issue.

Take care of the ventilation issue as Pat suggests, go for something less than max, and expect happier hens.

Steve

7. ### haloGot The Blues

6,069
36
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Nov 22, 2007
Florida
My Coop
Quote:I thought it was 4 square feet inside and 10 square feet outside per bird. With a floor space of 4x8 you *could* do 8 inside. Since it's tall you could definitely put in some other "floors" to increase your sqft a bit. Think of it like parking decks.

A run for your 8 (based on inside measurements) you'd need 80 sq ft. 8x10 (fenced off the long dimension), 4x20 (if you fenced off your short dimension). If you have space under your house (like it's on stilts) that would count into that - as well as being covered space for cooling and shelter from rain, etc.

That may be right. My kennel run consists of the coop and run all in one, so that would make more sense.

8. ### LSU2001Out Of The Brooder

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Aug 7, 2008
Cut Off Louisiana
Thanks for the replies guys

I think I will start off with 5 or 6 hens and see how that goes. If I like keeping chickens I will expand the coop
Tim

9. ### cajunlizzChillin' With My Peeps

Apr 27, 2008
Lafayette, Louisiana
Quote: I am also in South Louisiana ( Lafayette ) and trust me , you will get addicted QUICK . So , once you start building coop and run , make it as big as possible . 8 ft. ceiling height is plenty . Just make sure you have plenty of ventilation and NO DRAFTS . the roof line need to be at a slope for rain to drain off . Which we BOTH know rain is NOT whats missing in South Louisiana . Esp. in hurricane season . we started off with 1 coop and attached run . 8x12 (coop ) and 12 x32 run . NOW we have another coop and run that one is for smaller breeds . that one is 4x8 and run is 12x32 ... we also have another run behind this coop and run for isolation ( incase any need to be separated ) We did use that 3rd. run for our baby chicks that are now 3 months old and they are growing like WILDFIRE since they are out of the cages .

AGAIN , the more room the better . and of course preditor proof completely .

Where are you located ? WE COULD be neighbors and not know it .

Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
10. ### k0xxxChillin' With My Peeps

Mar 29, 2008
North Central Arkansas
Quote:That would be the way to go, I believe. I built an 8x8, but I designed it to where adding on would not be a problem, and it's beginning to look like I will. The dang critters are addicting.

Go Tigers!